Murdoch Square – The Story Begins

The journey from a patch of no-man’s land between Fiona Stanley Hospital and St John of
God Murdoch Hospital into a vibrant multi-use health, residential and lifestyle hub has been the preoccupation of developer Hesperia’s development director Ian Smyth since October 2016.

He says watching Murdoch Square, which is a 1.2ha first stage development within the l0ha Murdoch Health and Knowledge Precinct (MHKP), slowly materialise into a mini township is immensely satisfying.

Emerging from the site midway through 2023 will be five connected multi-storey buildings housing Montserrat’s short-stay private hospital and cancer centre, a 182- bed Aegis Aged Care facility, the State’s first medi hotel with 80 beds, disability accommodation, an international hotel, short-stay
and residential apartments, medical suites, childcare facilities, extensive parking facilities and commercial and community services including dining and retail outlets.

“The concept is to create a town centre that services not only the facilities and commercial businesses within Murdoch Square, but also offers people who work and visit the two adjacent tertiary hospitals a place to meet and socialise,” Mr Smyth said.

International design firm Hassell Studio is the lead architect and has been responsible for the overall design, which features an attractive landscaped plaza at the heart of the development
“Following our work on the Fiona Stanley Hospital to Murdoch Square, we see the precinct as an ongoing creation of people-focused places, with particular emphasis on creating enjoyable experiences for visitors, patients, and healthcare workers. The inclusion of diverse landscape settings provide respite, reflection as well as nourishment, celebration, and connection with the community,” said Hassell Principal Peter Dean.

“The beautifully landscaped plaza becomes a bustling centre with access to all the buildings from both the plaza and the surrounding streets,” Mr Smyth said.

The diverse usages at play in Murdoch Square will present an interesting social dynamic for its first inhabitants as they proceed to live and work and inevitably become a community, sharing facilities, spaces, time and perhaps even life stories!

“Much thought has been put into designing built structures and landscaping that promote multi­ generational social connection,” Mr Smyth said.

“Aegis was on the ground floor of planning with Hesperia, keen to create a new era in high-care
residential aged care across eight to nine storeys that would integrate with the broader activity in the square.”

“Once completed, it will have its own private landscaping as well as direct access to the plaza and its facilities. Aegis will also run the medihotel in collaboration with the South Metropolitan Health Service.”

Enhancing the lifestyle-friendly development will be a hotel run by the distinguished international hotel chain, Marriott, which Mr Smyth says will be a huge asset for those living south of the river as well as providing accommodation for out­ of-town families of both patients at the hospitals and students at Murdoch University.

While the area has naturally been seen in the past as a medical precinct, given its close proximity to two major tertiary hospitals, Mr Smyth says as Murdoch Square matures and other developments, earmarked for education and research in the broader MHKP, take off, the square will become a town hub.

“We have four sectors of demand in this one location – health, education, research institutes and tourism – these are strong ongoing drivers.
“From just one of those sectors – health – with Aegis and the medihotel on board, so grew the commitment for a day hospital, a GP clinic, medical suites, pathology, radiology plus hospitality and residential apartments.

“The square is ready to come alive.”


Montserrat in the Square

In October 2021, Montserrat Day Hospitals announced it was joining Murdoch Square with a state-of-the-art private hospital that will feature five operating theatres and first and second stage recovery beds. They will also establish and operate a haematology and oncology centre with 14 treatment chairs, together representing the group’s largest investment in WA to date.

Montserrat’s general manager in WA, Brendon Ball, said that while Montserrat was very much focused on day surgery, having overnight beds gave the organisation the opportunity to increase its services to its clinicians if their patients required extra monitoring after surgery.

The hospital will encompass two floors of the Aegis building, with the first level housing the theatres and procedure rooms, while level nine with its peaceful setting and beautiful views will accommodate the oncology and haematology centre (with 14 treatment chairs) as well as the overnight ward.

Mr Ball says specialties that will operate from Murdoch Private Hospital included gastroenterology, orthopaedic, plastic and reconstructive surgery, ophthalmology, oncology/haematology, gynaecology, ENT, pain, general surgery and urology.

Montserrat CEO Henry Barclay said he was delighted to see Montserrat continue to expand its WA services into the Murdoch area .

“After 27 years in the healthcare industry, Murdoch Private Hospital will be Montserrat’s most innovative yet,” he said, flagging that it could be a springboard for other developments in the future.
Mr Ball says the hospital will align specialists and allied health services with multidisciplinary teams to create a personalised treatment plan for every patient. Doctors will have access to the latest advancements in technology and specialised nursing staff.

The hospital is expected to open its doors in October 2023, which will be the first Montserrat facility south of the river.

“We built the day hospital in Albany and have another in Bunbury, but our metropolitan facilities are north – Oxford Day Surgery, Western Haematology & Oncology Clinics in West Perth and Craigie Day Surgery

“So, Murdoch Private Hospital will be a vital link for our regional and metropolitan centres and also play an important role within a significant health precinct south of the river where there is a large patient base and unmet need for health care services.

“We have had heard from many of the state’s leading doctors who have all struggled to get regular theatre time within the current hospital environment here in WA, as well as from younger doctors looking to secure consistent theatre time and establish their practices. They’ re all keen to get access to these state-of-the-art facilities.”

“In addition to the premises, we are also building our local team and are pleased to announce the appointment of Ms Bronwyn Grant as CEO of our new Murdoch Private Hospital. She takes up her position on April 1.”

To learn more about Murdoch Square, visit the website.


First published in Medical Forum, April 2022 edition.